Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Folate Receptor β Targeted PET Imaging of Macrophages in Autoimmune Myocarditis

List of Authors: Arghavan Jahandideh, Sauli Uotila, Mia Ståhle, Jenni Virta, Xiang-Guo Li, Ville Kytö, Päivi Marjamäki, Heidi Liljenbäck, Pekka Taimen, Vesa Oikonen, Jukka Lehtonen, Mikko I. Mäyranpää, Qingshou Chen, Philip S. Low, Juhani Knuuti, Anne Roivainen, Antti Saraste


Publication year: 2020

Journal: Journal of Nuclear Medicine

Journal name in source: JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MEDICINE

Journal acronym: J NUCL MED

Volume number: 61

eISSN: 2159-662X



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Rationale: Currently available imaging techniques have limited specificity for the detection of active myocardial inflammation. Aluminum fluoride-18-labeled 1,4,7-triazacyclononane-N,N′,N″-triacetic acid conjugated folate (18F-FOL) is a positron emission tomography (PET) tracer targeting folate receptor β (FR-β) that is expressed on activated macrophages at sites of inflammation. We evaluated 18F-FOL PET for the detection of myocardial inflammation in rats with autoimmune myocarditis and studied expression of FR-β in human cardiac sarcoidosis specimens.

Methods: Myocarditis was induced by immunizing rats (n = 18) with porcine cardiac myosin in complete Freund’s adjuvant. Control rats (n = 6) were injected with Freund’s adjuvant alone. 18F-FOL was intravenously injected followed by imaging with a small animal PET/computed tomography (CT) scanner and autoradiography. Contrast-enhanced high-resolution CT or 2-deoxy-2-18F-fluoro-D-glucose (18F-FDG) PET images were used for co-registration. Rat tissue sections and myocardial autopsy samples of 6 patients with cardiac sarcoidosis were studied for macrophages and FR-β.

Results: The myocardium of 10 out of 18 immunized rats showed focal macrophage-rich inflammatory lesions with FR-β expression occurring mainly in M1-polarized macrophages. PET images showed focal myocardial 18F-FOL uptake co-localizing with inflammatory lesions (SUVmean, 2.1 ± 1.1), whereas uptake in the remote myocardium of immunized rats and controls was low (SUVmean, 0.4 ± 0.2 and 0.4 ± 0.1, respectively; P < 0.01). Ex vivo autoradiography of tissue sections confirmed uptake of 18F-FOL in myocardial inflammatory lesions. Uptake of 18F-FOL to inflamed myocardium was efficiently blocked by a non-labeled FR-β ligand folate glucosamine in vivo. The myocardium of patients with cardiac sarcoidosis showed many FR-β-positive macrophages in inflammatory lesions. Conclusion: In a rat model of autoimmune myocarditis, 18F-FOL shows specific uptake in inflamed myocardium containing macrophages expressing FR-β, which were also present in human cardiac sarcoid lesions. Imaging of FR-β expression is a potential approach for the detection of active myocardial inflammation.

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Last updated on 2022-07-04 at 18:38